Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tonight's Movie: Lured (1947)

LURED is a terrific Douglas Sirk thriller starring Lucille Ball, George Sanders, and a deep supporting cast.

Sandra Carpenter (Ball) is an American dance hall hostess in London. Sandra aspires to a classier job, but her career is interrupted by Scotland Yard when a fellow dance hall hostess goes missing. The detectives at Scotland Yard (headed by Charles Coburn, Alan Napier, and Robert Coote) believe Sandra's coworker was the victim of a serial killer, and they recruit Sandra to help lure the murderer into the open. Sandra is shadowed by trusty Officer Barrett (George Zucco).

Meanwhile Sandra falls for nightclub owner Robert Fleming (Sanders) when they are repeatedly thrown together in various circumstances. Fleming is quite the ladies' man, but Sandra's initial refusal to fall prey to his charms leads to his falling head over heels for her and proposing marriage. There's just one little complication: a bunch of evidence in Fleming's desk tying him to the serial killings.

The cast also includes Boris Karloff, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Joseph Calleia, Alan Mowbray, and perennial butler Charles Coleman, who this time around gets to play Sir Charles, a member of the nobility. The nightclub singer performing "All for Love" is Ethelreda Leopold.

Besides a sterling cast, the film has amazing style, beginning with the opening credits sequence. Although it's a studio-bound production, the movie does a great job of putting over foggy London, whether it's a mysterious letter sliding into a Royal Mailbox or Ball standing under a lamp along the Thames, with Big Ben in the background. Ball has a marvelous wardrobe designed by Elois Jenssen.

Best of all, the movie is simply fun. It has its spooky moments, but given the subject matter it's not very scary; while the actors play the more serious and romantic scenes with genuine emotion, the film also has a droll sense of humor. One of my favorite scenes is a humorous exchange between Sandra and Officer Barrett involving guns. There were other scenes I loved, such as Fleming visiting a friend's house only to find the maid serving him is Sandra, working undercover. There are many such great little moments scattered throughout the film.

I'm not a particular fan of Ball's TV comedy style, but I've acquired quite an appreciation for her early film work, also including STAGE DOOR (1937), DANCE, GIRL, DANCE (1940), and THE DARK CORNER (1946). She's incredibly beautiful in this film.

Last year Moira wrote at Skeins of Thought that "any time you get a chance to see George Sanders be noble, stalwart and true (but never dull) is very refreshing." I agree completely! As I wrote here a few weeks ago, "I especially love Sanders when he plays one of the good guys." This is one of my favorite Sanders performances.

LURED runs 102 minutes. It was filmed with style by William Daniels.

LURED is available on DVD and VHS. It's also been shown on Turner Classic Movies.

There's more on the film by MorlockJeff at TCM's blog. As Jay Carter writes elsewhere at TCM, "LURED is a delicious plum pudding of a cult movie." Enjoy!


Blogger Irene said...

I have always loved Lucille Ball whether it is movies or tv. The library site is down right now, but if I can't get it from there, it is available on YouTube - not the best but better than nothing!

8:59 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

If you're a Lucy fan I think you'll enjoy it, Irene. She has some good wisecracks and is gorgeous too. Let me know when you get to see it!

Best wishes,

9:00 PM  
Blogger Irene said...

Well, I couldn't wait and so watched it on YouTube. The quality was not that bad. I REALLY liked it. Not sure how this one ever slipped by me but I did read that the name was changed during it's release and so the director blamed that on its poor performance. Too bad really. She is gorgeous in this and so "Lucy" in the middle part of it. And the dresses - wow!

11:36 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I'm delighted you were able to see it already, even though it was via YouTube, and especially that you enjoyed it!

Weren't those dresses stunning? And I loved her interplay with the policeman guarding her.

So glad you had fun watching this too. LURED and JOHNNY O'CLOCK made this a great viewing weekend for me.

Best wishes,

11:38 PM  
Blogger Matthew Coniam said...

Such a strange, hugely enjoyable film - especially the sequence with Karloff, who gets such prominent billing for one totally irrelevant scene.
The only thing that spoils it for me is Ball: like you I'm not a huge fan of her on tv, and I didn't much like her here either. Should've been Paulette Goddard.

12:36 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Though I was enthused about Ball's performance in this film, I can definitely see Goddard carrying off this role, Matthew. :)

The Karloff scene was indeed pretty crazy, although I guess it worked as far as introducing Sandra to Officer Barrett and adding to the film's overall spooky nature.

Best wishes,

12:44 AM  
Blogger la peregrina said...

I'm not a particular fan of Ball's TV comedy style, but I've acquired quite an appreciation for her early film work

I've always preferred the movie Lucy to the TV Lucy although the TV Lucy does make me laugh. I saw Lured on TCM and enjoyed it very much- Lucy at her best.

11:16 AM  
Blogger Irene said...

I was also surprised at the Karloff scene which was pretty wild and wacky and funny but I really kept expecting him to show up again, or something. Especially considering the publicity photos show him with her. Just based on that, I expected him to be the culprit :)

I liked Lucy in this. I thought her performance was perfect for a brash American in London.

11:33 AM  
Blogger Jazmin's said...

I've had this in my netflix queue for the longest time now, but I think I need to move it up. Thank you and you've got a great blog here!

10:54 PM  
Blogger Alan Eichler said...

The singing voice for Ethelreda Leopold in "Lured" belongs to Annette Warren, who ironically later dubbed Lucille Ball in "Sorrowful Jones" and "Fancy Pants." She also most famously sung for Ava Gardner in "Show Boat".

11:34 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older